Ted McDermott often struggles to remember his son. However, the 80 year old can spin “Quando Quando Quando” just like Sinatra. A former entertainer, Ted was diagnosed with dementia in 2013. Like so many other dementia sufferers, Ted has experienced significant memory loss.
In an effort to help his dad, Ted’s son Simon has been driving him around ‘carpool karaoke style’, singing classic songs that help Ted remember. Videos of the pair singing have gone viral, and have even resulted in Ted landing a record deal.
“Dementia” refers to the collection of illnesses that cause a progressive decline in a person’s functioning. It is often associated with memory and intellect loss, reduction of motor skills and general loss of physical functioning. There currently is no cure.
Dementia affects more that 350, 000 Australians and 40, 000 New Zealanders. These numbers are set to increase, and without a medical breakthrough, the number of Australians living with dementia could be almost as high as 900,000 by 2020, and 146,000 New Zealanders by 2050.
Often misconstrued as an ‘older person’s disease’, dementia can also be diagnosed in a patient as young as 30 (younger onset dementia), with over 25,000 young Australians living with this condition.
Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia and is the single greatest cause of disability in older Australians. Based on the statistics, the chances are that you or someone you know, will be touched by this disease.
Without a cure, patients and doctors are looking at treatments like music therapy, to combat this illness and return patients to some former quality of life. For dementia patients like Ted, music is often still remembered when other memories are lost. Moreover, recent studies have shown that patients can often recall memories and have enhanced mental performance after being exposed to music.